What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela put it well when he said that the difference we make in the lives of others is what determines how significant our lives are. What makes your life significant? Whose life have you made a difference in?

The Challenge

The only challenge here is to make a difference in the lives of those around us, no matter how insignificant it may seem. What matters to one may just be an offer of a cup of warm milk and, to another, some financial help. Indeed, the needs people have vary significantly and are sometimes subject to the seasons in a person’s life.

There are lots of heroes we can learn from, but there are also many others who may not make the headlines but whose lives make those of others better. They are not too far from us. We can think about our mothers, fathers and friends.

Are you looking for that big break, so your name appears in the dailies, or are you the one consistently looking for ways to show just a little kindness to someone who needs it? Maybe, the company driver or security man?

As leaders and team members, we do not need to look too far off for where our lives’ significance can shine radiantly. Maybe, your team lead just needs that word of encouragement from you so she can keep keeping on. Our leaders need encouragement too.

Probably, that secretary you always rebuke openly genuinely seeks to do his work to the best of his abilities, so he can impress you. A smile may lift up his spirits much more than that pack of food you hand over when you do not need it. Sometimes, the intangible things in life make the most difference.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless”  Mother Teresa.

What to Do

What is comforting is that you do not have to be the next Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, Barack Obama or the unforgettable Nelson Mandela. Yours is to do your bit in that organisation or family. Most people desire to make a difference in this world. You may find it easier making one small impact at a time than waiting around for that big break to make a large impact. That time may or may not come. However, we can make this impact together as small teams in our workplaces, families, organisations, etc. across the globe. Smaller sea waves combine to make the huge waves we experience on the seas.

The impact of an organisation can be felt strongly by a client if each person in the value chain does their bit and does it well. So, play your part and play it excellently. In an orchestra, no instrument is more important than the other. Each instrument has its role. The sounds synchronise perfectly to produce the sweet music put out for all to hear.

Nelson Mandela stated it this way,

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

So, the next time you dream up the possibility of making some grand impact, remember that no effort is too little to light up someone’s life just a little bit. Making a ‘huge’ impact is progressive. It starts out as a little thought, a slight action and eventually becomes this big force no one can reckon with.

Nothing is insignificant if it brings significance to the lives we lead.


We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” – Mother Teresa.

Freda Abah-Dakou
(Read more about Freda at https://www.mcatraininginternational.com/freda-abah-dakou/.)
(Learn more about ThinkLead Ecosystem at https://thinkleadecosystem.com/.)